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ATU: This MLK Day ask ‘If we don’t help, what will happen to them?’

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Silver Spring, MD – Amalgamated Transit Union International President Larry Hanley released the following statement to mark Dr. Martin Luther King Day.

“As we celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King with the U.S. entering the fourth week of the shutdown of the U.S. federal government, I am reminded of Dr. King’s final speech – ‘I’ve been to the mountaintop’ – he delivered in support of the striking Memphis sanitation workers before he was tragically assassinated.  

“In that speech Dr. King told a packed church the biblical story of a priest and Levite—both devout religious men—who came across a seriously injured man. King famously said “And so the first question that the priest asked, the first question that the Levite asked was, ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But then the Good Samaritan came by, and he reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?’”

“That is the question we are faced with today. If we do not help the more than 800,000 U.S. federal employees and countless contractors – janitors, service workers, and others – who have been locked out or are working without pay, what will happen to them?”

“We at the ATU have been offering free meals to furloughed federal workers and their families, who have become political pawns in this standoff between the Trump White House and Congress.

“So this MLK Day and every day forward we challenge all to take care of these furloughed workers and their families. Start a food drive for a food pantry, volunteer to help clean our national parks, support local businesses helping furloughed employees, or call your Representative and Senator to tell them to end the shutdown.

“The best way we can all honor Dr. King’s legacy is best put in his own words that night in Memphis.  ‘Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be’.”